Local talents to take stage at Montante

By Sydney Bucholtz

Assistant Features Editor

Although the Buffalo area has had the privilege of showcasing iconic music for decades, the fresh sounds of recent artists from this eclectic city give the impression that good local music is continuously on the rise.  In fact, some groups that are experiencing this upsurge of popularity are affiliated with Canisius College, and the College has arranged to expose these unique sounds to students in an upcoming concert this Saturday.  After much planning and organization that began before the fall semester, the Wire will host the Fall Rager Concert at 7:00 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center.  The event will feature performances from a wide array of Buffalo and Canisius College talent, including Austin Nova, Jerrell Lanos, and Mom Said No, and will unquestionably provide a vibrant and high-energy experience from start to finish.

President of the Wire and headlining artist Austin Rothwell spoke to The Griffin about his inspiration for the event.  “When I first came to Canisius, I attended an orientation event at Montante,” he said.  “Being a musician, my only thought was, ‘I need to perform here.’  So, after learning of clubs like the Wire Radio Station, I found a way to get involved in music culture on campus.  After becoming President of the station, I learned that fulfilling my goal would be tough in its current state, so building the club up to its position now has really led to our ability to finally do this.”

Once Rothwell and the club were able to accomplish the necessary steps, the six-month planning period began.  As he stated, “It has been a lot of work.  There’s quite a few people on campus at this point who know me as not only ‘Austin Rothwell’ but also as ‘Austin Nova,’ the musician,” he said.   “I took a break from performing for two years to focus on my craft because I really wanted my first show on campus in front of my peers to be astonishing.”  Rothwell described his current creation of a background visual set, which remains consistent with his intended theme: fire.  

“I have been practicing day in and day out with my band,” Rothwell expressed.  “I have my new drummer, Pete Barlett, my sister Mackenzie, Jerrell Lanos, and my DJ, Epesi, all working very hard to make this a show that we look back on with pride.”  Rothwell described his set, saying that about half of the included songs consisted of covers from artists including Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.  Rothwell has also written music of his own.  “I wanted to perform my biggest hits, but only those that are the kind you can dance to,” he said. “My song “Oh No” was filmed on campus, and is one I’m performing [in addition to] “It’s Lit,” the song I was able to get Lil Wayne featured on as a sample.”

In the midst of Rothwell’s tireless work, the other featured performers are also focused on this opportunity.  Hip hop vocalist Jerrell Lanos will also be a highlight of the Fall Rager Concert.  “Austin [and I] have talked about performing together for a while now and this seemed like the perfect time,” Lanos told The Griffin.  Being a Canisius student and the president of the CrescenDON’Ts, Lanos has performed for Canisius students several times, but this does not eradicate his skill in making each performance original.  As Lanos described, “The process of picking songs for my set and rehearsing them was not very difficult. However, I’m a perfectionist so I always have to make sure that everything is perfect.  You can expect a mix of alternative, R&B, hip-hop, rap, and acoustic music from the three of us.”

The third group involved in this distinct musical event will be Mom Said No, a local alternative band whose popularity is on a consistent upswing, especially in Buffalo.  The band’s keyboardist/vocalist, Chris Lillis, discussed the band’s experiences in regards to the upcoming concert.  “This show in particular is going to have an enormous amount of variety to it,” said Lillis.  “We have our alternative/pop sound and then we have Austin and Jerrell doing hip-hop/rap.”  With the differences in genres of the three artists, it is a mutual understanding that this event will operate in waves of characteristic, individual sound.  “As far as the atmosphere goes, it is certainly going to be interesting,” Lillis continued.  “One thing that can be guaranteed is that the whole night will be very high energy between all three of us.  Hopefully we’ll get people on their feet and having a good time.”  The band informed that although they have never performed on the Canisius campus in the past, they hope to return in the future.  

In the organization involved with coordinating such a massive event, Rothwell shared his process of selecting these talented artists.  “I really wanted the other acts that I worked with to have the same perspective as me,” he commented.  “From the first time I heard Jerrell sing, I knew I had to work with him.  He’s doing his own set, as well as doing some of the vocals in my set.  When I was looking for a good complementary act to open the show, hearing [Mom Said No]’s first song on their EP was all I needed.  After that, I immediately extended the offer.”

“I think that there will be very different experiences with each set,” explained Rothwell, eager for the variety in the music featured this Saturday.  “Mom Said No will get you out of your seat and instantly put you in a vibe to jam out.  I think Jerrell will grab your heartstrings and really captivate you with his vocals alone.  And I really think that there is a lot of variety, but also a lot of power to my set.  I’m out here leaving it all on the stage, performing like I never have before.  So vibe with me and we will have a hell of a time.”


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